Sunday, March 4, 2012

CPK wannabe Thai Crunch Salad

As I think I've mentioned before I'm not a completely strict vegan.  While I don't eat any dairy, eggs or meat, I do still eat honey.  Honey to me is a vegan anomaly.  Vegan's don't consume animal products.  Honey is made by bees.  Bees are technically insects not animals... but for my case, I don't eat dairy, eggs, or meat due to the reaction I get from my body after consuming them.  I don't get that reaction from honey so I still use it in recipes and my tea.  This recipe contains honey.  You can try to replace the honey with agave nectar... but I don't know how it will turn out.  This is my favorite salad to order when we go out to dinner at CPK.  On the menu it comes with chicken and wonton strips.  Just ask the server to sub in avocado for the chicken and remove the wonton strips (and if you don't mind honey, you're good to go!)  A lot of ingredients but you can make it ahead of time as long as you don't dress it and add the crunch until you're ready to eat!  So yummy!

For the Salad:
(THIS MAKES A LOT! LIKE OMG A LOT.  Divide it into small containers w/o dressing for better portion control! see note)
1 head Napa cabbage, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 small head red cabbage, cored and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
2 bunches scallions (green onions), thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 large English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled, cored and julienned
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cups cooked shelled edamame (soybeans)
2 cups roasted peanuts
Avocado (I do about 1/2 an avocado diced per salad)
1 cup lime-cilantro dressing
2 cups crisp rice sticks
2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch dice (optional)
1/2 cup Thai peanut dressing

Place cabbages, carrots, scallions, cucumber, cilantro, edamame and peanuts in very large mixing bowl and toss to mix.  Divide into proper portions for you.  The full size at CPK would be 1/4 of the salad made (in other words 3 cups of salad!)  Divide it into smaller portions in tupperware for an easy take-to-work lunch (leave out the peanuts, rice sticks, avocado, and both dressings until ready to eat!! )

Mix lime-cilantro dressing:
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1/4 Cup rice vinegar
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 Cup minced red bell pepper
1/4 Cup honey
4 Teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 Teaspoons sesame oil
2 Teaspoons lime juice
2 Cloves garlic
Dash salt
Dash ground black pepper
Put everything into a blender and blend on high speed for 20 seconds, or until cilantro is chopped fine but not pureed.
Make Thai Peanut Sauce:
1/2 Cup crunchy peanut butter
6 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon chili sauce (or chili-garlic sauce)
1 Teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 Teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 Cup water
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium/low heat. Heat until sauce is hot, but not boiling, and sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture into a blender and blend for about 20 seconds. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before drizzling over the salad before eating!

When ready to eat,
Add peanuts to salad, adding enough that they are present but not overwhelming.  Pour some of the lime-cilantro dressing over the salad and toss to mix thoroughly (salad mix should be coated with dressing).  Top with crisp rice sticks. Cut avocado into a large dice and top the salad. Then use a squeeze bottle or syrup dispenser to drizzle Thai peanut dressing over rice sticks. Serve immediately.

Like I said, this makes A LOT of salad!  If you divide it into 1.5 cup servings in zip lock bags, not only will you save space in your fridge but it's also handy to grab in the morning before work!  To mix it at work, bring about 3 TBSP of Lime-cilantro dressing to toss with salad.  Prep bags of rice sticks, avocado chunks, and peanuts.  You probably want about 1.5 TBSP of the peanut dressing to drizzle on top.  I suggest snack size zip-lock bags to transport the avocado, peanuts, and rice sticks.  To transport the dressings, look for tupperware that are about 1 oz in size.  Bring a salad bowl size tupperware to mix it all in. 

YUMMM It's like eating out without the cost!  A full salad at CPK costs about $12 or $13!  I've yet to fully add up how much this whole salad costs... but I think it's like $13 for 5-8 salads!


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